How Does One ‘Smash a Moral Compass’ & Get Rid of Self?

From Addicts & Alcoholics Will Suck You Dry.


I both hate and love posts like these Charlie…they are hard for me to read but at the same time I know they are exactly what I need to hear.

Of course, the hardest part is not simply accepting that we can’t let our addicts suck us dry any longer…the hardest part is actually doing something about it. I would love to “smash a moral compass” into my addict, but how on earth to do that? Letting them lose us seems like the only road to take, but it’s a risky one because there is no guarantee at all that they are going to come around – for some people being “abandoned” is just going to give them an excuse to descend deeper into darkness.

These matters are so difficult. Thank you for providing guidance to us, the parents and partners, who struggle and suffer so much.


Thank you and bless you. You’re right, it’s certainly a tall task to smash a moral compass into an addict and one I’ve never seen accomplished by a non-addict/alcoholic. One of the reasons why the Steps can be so powerful and mystical is because they seem to only work when brought to us by another alcoholic or addict, as only he or she can instill the sort of confidence necessary to get through to us about the moral issue. We don’t listen to non addicts. We listen to those who used and felt the way we did and then recovered.

Regarding letting go, remember that you’re abandoning the addict, the addiction, as opposed to the person you love. Addicts are essentially possessed. When people use drugs and alcohol, they become vulnerable energetically and open to all sorts of evil entering the body. At any rate, sure there is no guarantee we will come around, but there is no guarantee anyway. At least by letting go you have a hand to play, as we at least suffer the consequence of losing something that perhaps we don’t want to lose, i.e. you.

I know it’s tough, believe me. It’s confusing because addicts become so insane. Who would act in such a way? But the bottom line is this: Those of us who get better are those who deep down want to change, those of us who want to evolve and grow spiritually. Those who don’t recover and commit themselves to this work simply don’t want to change. 

Okay Charlie, thank you. It is hard to know what to do with this information but I understand what you are saying. It’s just hard when the addict is *mostly* sober and has improved the way they treat people *somewhat* – they feel they’re doing an awesome job. How can I convey to them that they need to go somewhere and have a “moral compass” smashed into them? I mean they just don’t get how self-centered they are…don’t get it at all. My addict is not going to go to a meeting when they feel their addictions are already conquered. Even though they need the Steps like you wouldn’t believe.  


“I mean they just don’t get how self-centered they are…don’t get it at all.”

I hear you. And the only remedy I know for this is diving head first into the 12 Step actions as they are laid out in the Big Book. I’m sure there are other methods to achieve the same goal, but for addicts and alcoholics, the Steps are by far the best remedy we have to address our two central problems: self-centeredness and spiritual sickness.

My only other suggestion is for families and spouses to engage in the Steps on their own, for their own relief, especially to utilize tools such as the 4th Step resentment inventory. Putting resentments to rest can give family members and/or spouses a tremendous amount of peace and freedom, peace that they so richly deserve. As well, prayer and meditation are both crucial.


The other best remedy for all this stuff, for addiction and selfishness in general, is simply service. Go help people. Volunteer. Go to the soup kitchen. Help family. Help friends. Help neighbors. Serve. Anything to help others and get outside of self is the secret. That’s really why the Steps work. It’s ALL about the removal of self. That is the silver bullet that slays addiction, and yet, the mainstream never admits or acknowledges that. Give an addict a purpose that involves helping people and it will save them… and yes, that goes for all of them. The solution for addiction has nothing to do with pills and science. Regardless of what people think or how mad they get at me, that is the truth. The solution for addicts and alcoholics is service and honesty. God.

Working with Others 
Why Service Works 

4 thoughts on “How Does One ‘Smash a Moral Compass’ & Get Rid of Self?

  1. Hey Charlie – I just wanted to comment and tell you I still love and read your posts. It is the little kick in the ass I need. My son is not well I would say worse then when you spoke with him and now there is a baby on the way. His GF does not use thank goodness and we love her and know she will be a good Mom. She is trying to save him and it is hard to watch her try to control what she absolutely can't. Brings back not so good memories. I hope you and your family are doing well. Bless you Charlie…..thank you.

  2. My husband died at 57. After the third rehab I gave up and several nights before he died I asked God to give him an alt. life. God took him to Heaven. I hate to say this, but my guy had to die to get well. He went from a wonderful sober family man to relapsing at our 8th year and four kids later. I barely ever saw him sober again. He flat out loved drinking and drugs more than us. My two oldest sons have a fatal diiisease and my husband told me he would not live without us so he didn't. To the other comment I will pray your son chooses life and his child. Bless you.

  3. Hey Tori, Great to see you and hear from you. I regret hearing about B and I will pray for his GF and the baby. Maybe the baby will come out and slap him in the face 😉 Bless you too!

  4. Bless you too. To be navigating the world amidst all of this shows to me incredible strength and faith. Thank you for reading and reaching out.

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